Patients who take over the counter analgesics containing acetaminophen, such as paracetamol, are more likely to develop kidney failure than those who take aspirin.
The other higher risk group are the NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs).
Researchers from the John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland have isolated the two drug groups as causing kidney failure when it had been thought that all analgesics, including aspirin, could be responsible.
Their findings were based on a study of 716 patients being treated for chronic kidney failure (NEJM, December 22, 1994).
Acetaminophen can cause adverse reactions among people who fast. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh discovered a greater incidence of reaction among people who had not eaten than those who had drunk alcohol, a known group at risk. All of the patients in the study had taken more than the recommended dose (JAMA, December 21, 1994).